Liberals still searching for answers as to why President Donald Trump thumped Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, continue to tout phrases such as "elites versus populists" or "globalists versus nationalists." But as some scholars point out, it's become more of a "city versus countryside" or "urban versus rural" issue.
Look no further than the Bayou City, where University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus says so-called 'Inner Loopers' and 'Outer Loopers' are on opposite sides of the political spectrum with very different needs.
“When you've got scarce resources in terms of a budget or political policy, there's going to be a lot of fighting for it,” says Rottinghaus. “Everyone is looking for whatever edge they can get, and that is creating this tension between the cities, counties and rural areas.”
Rural residents typically put faith and family at the top of their priorities. But they also live in less diverse neighborhoods than those in city centers.
“You see a serious divergence in terms of the type of policies that are pushed by each of the different politicians from those areas, and that's exacerbating those trends that have city areas more blue and areas around them more red.”
The divisiveness is creating greater anymosity between the two sides. Liberals like to point out that Trump voters were mainly 'uneducated,' meaning he won over more voters without a college degree. It fuels old adages such as 'city folk' know more than so-called 'country bumpkins.'
“People make the mistake when they assume just because someone does not have a college degree that they somehow are not intelligent,” says Dr. Mark jones, a fellow in political science at Rice University's Baker Institute. “There are many, many intelligent people throughout the country that don't have a college degree and have been very successful.”
But Jones points out many rural residents have become frustrated with a greater decline in jobs and educational opportunities than seen in more cosmopolitan areas, and those voters spoke in large numbers across the nation.
That's where the Democrats' stronghold on city centers actually works against them.
“One downsize that Democrats face is that this concentration of their support, increasingly in urban areas, makes it less likely that they'll have majorities in state legislatures, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives,” says Jones.